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Posted by: Post-Chapel Dude ( )
Date: September 01, 2021 06:53PM

Been doing some research on this subject. On my reading of the LDS Standard Works, doing searches throughout the LDS scripture database, repentance appears to be a Protestant version in the early church: that is you confess your faults at the waters of baptism and that's it. Confession is to Christ alone and then the initiate to baptism admitting their faults ("confessing their sins") to fellow believers in public before baptism.

The concept of worthiness interviews and confession to a leader behind closed doors seems to come much later.

I have started reading Confession in LDS Doctrine and Practice by Edward L Kimball. He is an active member but even he admits a lot. For example, at one point he is like the church leader does not forgive sins in any sense like the Catholic priest absolves sin. So it occurred to me that it's mere policy to dote out your punishment. In other words, the LDS "confessional" has no supernatural effect, it is merely procedural in order to receive your ecclesiastical "punishment" (don't take the sacrament, or excommunication, etc.).

From my point of view, a lot of the emotional damage and scrupulosity and shaming that occurs in the LDS system could be avoided if they went back to the confession methods of the original LDS Church. That would be a step in the right direction. But of course we know that is unlikely to happen because the system is now affective at creating shame and perfectionism and thus tithing revenue.

Anyone know any historical scholarship on this?

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Posted by: hgc ( )
Date: September 01, 2021 11:49PM

I completely agree. I also agree it is unlikely the Church will change the current confession protocol.

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Posted by: Ynamerom ( )
Date: September 02, 2021 02:34AM

I don't know but you have a point there...
It is there NOT FOR REWARD (which is supposed to be between you and God/ Heavenly Farther), but for Punishment, through Privacy Invasions, Trust Breakdown/ Abuse, Segregation, Humiliation, Torture, Mistreatment, and other separating measures.

Its ruins children, and countless adults

Confessing is like running naked
You can never stop

It's better to never start!

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 02, 2021 10:31AM

Ynamerom Wrote:
> Confessing is like running naked
> You can never stop

It is more like trying to stop a runaway hot air balloon. Once you grab hold of the rope you have very little time to let go until you are air born. Then it is matter of holding on until you are exhausted and fall to your death.

This gives fuel to the idea people want to sin and leave the church. They leave because the church is no help at all and they end up crashing.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 02, 2021 01:13PM

I think the change occurred during the late 1970s and early 80s. I think it coincided with the correlation program. I remember hearing talks during priesthood meetings (remember those stake ones?) advising bishops and stake leaders that if they did not follow church policy and protocols then the sins were on THEM.

I think there were some church leaders who really didn't want to mete out the punishments. In my ward, a bishop who was "soft" on church discipline was released early. The stake president installed one of his authoritarians who went to work on the wild youth of my ward. Quite a few were exed and others were disfellowshipped. Some were serious sins, but some were petty offenses. It was a terrible time in the ward.

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Posted by: cl2notloggedin ( )
Date: September 02, 2021 07:27PM

and the bishop had been asking me if I masturbated or necked and petted since I was 12 years old. I did have a VT/friend who told me when she was a teenager, they didn't have these interviews. She was about 10 years or so older than I am.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 06:07PM

The Miracle of Forgiveness was handed out by bishops at that point to young transgressors.

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Posted by: Post-Chapel Dude ( )
Date: September 02, 2021 04:03PM

Yeah I do think a lot of it came from the 70s and 80s. Some of it started back in the early 1900s when they made the word of wisdom a requirement for entrance into the temple. But I don't think that it goes back before 1900.

My thinking is that, in the 1800s repentance was just like in the Protestant churches. Only if everyone knew you had committed say adultery that you were then up for church discipline. And even and then in the repentance process was not a private one-on-one interview session but you simply confessed to the congregation. Otherwise, I think your "sins" was between you and the Lord and and those you offended. I think the LDS scriptures bear this out.

For example the Joseph Smith papers, Journals Volume 1, 1832-1839, we read about Joseph Smith and his brother William having a confrontation and them reconciling and Joseph Smith writes in his journal:

1 January 1836 • Friday:

"Br. William made an humble confession and asked my forgiveness ... I asked his forgiveness, and the spirit of confession and forgiveness was mutual among us all .. and we all covenanted with each other ... to strive from henceforward to build each other up in righteousness ..."

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Posted by: Phantom Shadow ( )
Date: September 03, 2021 12:14AM

Never happened to me in the 50s or 60s. First time I had anything remotely like this was in late 1962 when the bishop talked to me about going on a mission. There were no personal questions by the bishop, who was a good friend of my parents, or the stake president, also a good friend. Something vague about chastity. I really don't remember. Did I have a boyfriend? Yes, but I'd broken it off with him the night before the bishopric came to talk to me. They seemed to be more concerned about whether I had a marriage prospect than my purity, which was taken for granted.

It's appalling to me to see what's happened since then. Even when I went to see the same bishop and stake president 2 1/2 years later to get my recommend to be married in the temple, no really personal questions. I still can't imagine the old stake president asking anyone questions about their sexual life, or lack thereof.

And had they asked, I would have lied. For pete's sake, the invitations had been sent out already.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 03, 2021 12:52AM

Back in the days when local leaders were still permitted to treat their flocks with a modicum of respect. . .

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 06:10PM

" Did she climax at that point" ... I don't remember exactly how I answered by I think I fell out of my chair.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: September 03, 2021 01:20PM

It happened to me in 1958 when I was about to leave on a mission.
I told them what they wanted to hear and everything was OK

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Posted by: nli ( )
Date: September 03, 2021 03:37PM

When I was a young man in the church (1950s) I NEVER was asked probing questions. I always got promoted in the priesthood, I always got a temple recommend - just by asking for it. Of course, I was always a "goody-two-shoes" and attended all my meetings, so the bishop and SP probably assumed I was worthy.

There are plenty of scriptural passages commanding confession, such as James 5:16.

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Posted by: Post-Chapel Dude ( )
Date: September 03, 2021 06:19PM

I don't know what you mean by passages "commanding confession"? I don't know of any new testament scriptures demanding one-on-one private confession to a particular leader like in Catholicism and Mormonism. Here is what James 5:16 (Expanded Bible) says:
"[ Therefore,] Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. ..."

I interpret this as confessing to one another as in fellow Christians, just like you pray for fellow Christians. Meaning admitting your faults (to sin means missing the mark) and making amends and saying you're sorry, etc. You know like Jesus saying to leave your gift at the altar and go be reconciled with your brother. Keep in mind that the epistle of James is most likely written by a Torah observant Jew. So I don't think he's thinking as a Catholic or a Mormon. Or even a Protestant.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 03, 2021 04:21PM

Even here, I think I'm the only one who has ever been turned down a TR at the stake level. Some member of stake presidency (think he was the 2nd counselor) looked deep into my eyes and with his bull shit spiritual discernment decided that I was an abusive husband. All of this came about a follow up question about having a harmonious home. When asked, I denied fighting, quarreling or being verbally abusive to my wife.

He leaned forward and declared me a liar. He told me to ask my wife for forgiveness and repent.

It pissed me off to no end at the time. I was spending 2-3 hours several times a week doing church business related to my calling. I thought that I was more faithful than I had ever been, save for my 2 year mission.

My wife had previously been interviewed. She received her TR and we drove home having a huge spat. I accused her of "confessing" something about our typical quarrels over money. She denied giving him cold reads and I it took me awhile to figure out that the stake guy was a major asshole.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 07:37PM

It happened to me.

The bishop was doing a recommend interview and I answered the "sustain the brethren" question honestly. I was otherwise worthy, so he didn't know what to do. He then sought guidance from the SP, who interviewed me, told me he needed to think about it, and eventually pronounced me unworthy. So I got to sit with the kids during a temple wedding, which was pretty fun.

Lot never asked what had happened, but he probably guessed. It wasn't long thereafter that our family left the church en masse.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 05, 2021 07:14PM

As a Catholic-raised nevermo, one of the huge problems of relying on church-based confession/absolution is that some problems should really be the concern of the legal system. For instance child sexual abuse has long been tolerated by both the Catholic and the Mormon faiths because it has been thought that their respective churches could adequately deal with the issue through the confessional.

As we all know, there are certain "sins" for which confession is not nearly enough of a solution.

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